Former Charlton Athletic man crucial to Sheffield United’s rise – Millwall will need to keep him quiet

Former Charlton striker Leon Clarke is in blistering scoring form – and Millwall boss Neil Harris cites Sheffield United’s firepower as their biggest strength.

The Blades head to The Den tomorrow with Clarke, right, on 13 goals from 15 Championship matches. The 32-year-old scored nine goals in four league games in November – the most by a player in a single month in the top four tiers of English football since Luis Suarez (10) in December 2013 for Liverpool.   Strike partner Billy Sharp is on eight goals with United third in the table.

“It just goes to show how good their squad was in League One when you see how they are competing at a higher level,” said Harris.

“They have added wisely and scored a lot of goals – that is what has got them into the top six. There is a familiarity within the squad and two strikers in Sharp and Clarke who have got them goals at key moments. It is what separates them from a lot of teams, ourselves as one of them. We have to nullify their threat.”

Millwall right-back Conor McLaughlin is suspended after collecting a fifth booking of the campaign at Fulham on Saturday.

Photo: Brian Tonks

Mahlon Romeo – who Harris has considered playing as a winger – is in line to replace the Northern Ireland international.

“Mahlon can slot in at right-back or we can think about adapting our shape and going to 3-5-2 like Sheffield United,” said Harris.

“Mahlon was outstanding for us last season and has been waiting patiently for an opportunity. If that arises in Conor’s absence he will be looking to grab it.

“We have adjusted our shape at times, especially during games. At Fulham we went to a 4-3-3. At times there is an off-the-cuff element to it as players do not hear all the messages.

“We have to balance off trying to score goals by being defensively reliable.”


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